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(The Conversation) — Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther, a German monk, initiated a split in Christianity that came to be known as the Protestant Reformation. After the Reformation, deep divisions between Protestants and Catholics contributed to wars, hostility and violence in Europe and America. For centuries, each side denounced the other and sought to convert its followers.Then, in the early 1900s, ambitious Protestants in the U.S. attempted the unthinkable. Building on ideas circulating in Europe, they took charge of an effort to negotiate the reunion of Christianity.They failed, of course. Strange as it might now seem, their effort is

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